Since it was first unveiled to the world, there has been a lot of attention focussed on Kim Jong-Un’s haircut. The floppy-topped undercut rather suits the overfed little dumpling and frames his face nicely. It is, as an acquaintance, Penny, would say, quite an effective brand of turd polish which gives him a certain fascist pizzazz, knuckling down with post-lobotomy chic.
Yesterday at work, not quite knowing what the rules governing the haircut were, without the advice of Mr Google, speculation was rife as to whether or not imitation of the haircut in the tragic, sad and hungry Stalinist theme park that is North Korea would be considered appropriate homage to the dumpling, or an act of treason on the scale of usurpation – a pretender to the throne.
Would the mere idea of Kim Jong-Un’s haircut being emulated be sufficient to send him into paroxysms of rage, followed shortly by mass detentions and executions, or would it rather invoke a more positive response, as though such imitators had clicked his “like” button?
It was whilst teaching my next lesson that the following scene occurred to me:
Kim Jong Un, having finished annihilating the Zergs in a game of Starcraft 2, thus earning him further accolades as a brilliant general, rises to greet the military commanders who have come to raise a serious question about his latest dictat. The generals stand, heads bowed, shuffling nervously, fearful of the forthcoming dry-cleaning bill.
“Your Unparalleled Eminence,” says the boldest of them all. “Son of the Moon and Stars, Holder-Upperer of the Heavens and Gatekeeper of Hell, Grandmaster of Tides and Winds, Binder-Together of Atoms, Higgs Boson, Horse-Breaker, Lion-Tamer and Iron Chef Korean, with all due respect and loyalty, and in humble acknowledgement of your far greater powers of reason and deduction, and,” pointing to the computer screen, “tactical and strategic genius, we are concerned that having all citizens who dare to have the same haircut, or, for that matter, any barbers who are willing to provide said haircut, starved to death in the traditional North Korean manner, will be counter-productive to the revolutionary ideal of creating a kitsch cult of personality and sustaining the largest army in the world, on a per capita basis.”
Kim Jong-Un, standing silently, glowering with a sneer of withering contempt, tosses his bowl of chicken congee at the generals. Not satisfied with the splattering of their freshly-laundered, if stylistically-dated uniforms, with one fell sweep of his mighty bingo wings, he sends a plate of pork and chive dumplings in their direction. The generals, knowing the importance of stoicism in the face of even the worst tantrums, on pain of death for showing fear either in public or private, allow the dumplings to strike them, unblinking. Indeed, several of them begin smiling in thanks for this unexpected anointing, all the while secretly thankful that their master has finished his kimchi.
“This is my haircut! I am the dear leader and no one else! I am the dumpling king, not you! And certainly not the bloody proles!”
The boldest of the generals, having borne the full brunt of the soup course, with a dumpling perched rather comically on the peak of his cap, his glasses dripping with congee and quietly thanking his wife for discouraging him from having had the troublesome haircut, continues to defy his master’s beloved insolence.
“But, your Universal Greatness, the entire population is alarmingly thin. There is little chance that anyone in our great system can get enough protein to challenge the Iron Throne. So weak and thin are they, it takes twelve of them just to change a light-bulb. Upon your accession, it took no less than six-hundred and fifty-two men to attach the warhead for your celebratory missile launch.”
“This is my haircut!” shouts Kim Jong-Un. “The leader must be unique! What good is it if the people look like me!?”
“They won’t, your Divine Grace, because there’s simply not enough food in the kingdom – er, I mean, state. And, well, as for looking like you, this is Communism after all, I believe.”
At this point Kim Jong-Un chooses to surprise them with an enormous bowl of kimchi he has been hiding behind his vast monitor. Turning and hurling the contents towards the generals in a great fan of red, chilli pickled cabbage, he slumps back in his chair, exhausted.
“It’s my haircut! Mine! Mine!”
and so on, ad nauseam.
Having since had a chance to investigate further, it would seem that in fact, Kim Jong-Un’s haircut is all the rage in North Korea and that emulation, rather than being punishable by death, is in fact encouraged as a show of patriotism and loyalty. Kim Jong-Un has been described as a “style guru,” and his hairstyle has been called the “ambition” or “youth” haircut. The North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun wrote that “neat and short hair for young people makes them captivating.” They went on to say that:
“A young man with an ambitious high-sided haircut looks so sobering and stylish.”
It is not only in North Korea that such a style is currently popular. The United States has also seen a resurgence in the floppy-topped undercut, known colloquially as “a modified McSqueeb,” a “J. Edgar Hoover”, a “Jimmy Darmody”, or, most popularly, a “Hitler Youth,” according to the New York Times. Though it can be difficult to nail the point of origin of any trend, it seems unlikely that style guru Kim Jong-Un is responsible for the popularity of the hairstyle in the U.S. Could it rather be that he has been watching Boardwalk Empire when not conquering his enemies in Starcraft and Civilization or trolling people in Aion and World of Warcraft? Either way the North Koreans have been rather slow in claiming this as a global coup for their new dear leader.
PS. I should like to note that whilst it is otherwise inappropriate to make jokes about people on account of their body weight and size and gluttony, I find it especially galling that this chap is so grossly overfed in a nation where people are starving to death as a direct result of the backward policies and misguided priorities of its leaders.